Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mechanism, possible treatment, for immune suppression in liver disease uncovered

Date:
April 13, 2014
Source:
Wellcome Trust
Summary:
The mechanism that underlies the susceptibility of liver disease patients to life-threatening infection has been uncovered by medical scientists, who have also suggested a possible treatment to reverse immune suppression in these patients. Liver disease, or cirrhosis, patients are more than five times more likely to pick up infections in hospital than patients with other chronic conditions, due to reduced immunity which is a well-recognized feature of the disease.

The mechanism which underlies the susceptibility of liver disease patients to life-threatening infection has been uncovered by Wellcome Trust-funded medical scientists, who have also suggested a possible treatment to reverse immune suppression in these patients.

Related Articles


Liver disease, or cirrhosis, is currently the fifth leading cause of death in the UK. Cirrhosis patients are more than five times more likely to pick up infections in hospital than patients with other chronic conditions, due to reduced immunity which is a well-recognized feature of the disease.

In a study published today in Nature Medicine, researchers at UCL propose that the underlying cause of hyper susceptibility to infection in cirrhosis patients is due to the over production of the lipid hormone prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). This hormone prevents white blood cells from ingesting bacteria and killing them.

In the study, 75 blood samples were taken from patients at hospitals including University College Hospital, Royal Free Hospital, Royal London Hospital, St Mary's Hospital and the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona.

Researchers also found that a decreased concentration globular blood protein albumin, which catalyses the inactivation of PGE2 in liver disease patients was contributing to low immunity.

The authors of the study have therefore suggested that cirrhosis patients should receive albumin infusions to reverse immune suppression in chronic liver disease.

The research was carried out by lead author Professor Derek Gilroy, Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at UCL in collaboration with consultant hepatologist Dr Alistair O'Brien.

Professor Gilory said: "A defective innate immune response was first observed in cirrhosis 30 years ago, and infection is most common cause of death in cirrhosis patients. However, the precise factors that cause reduced immunity have up until now been unknown.

"Our research has uncovered a powerful mechanism for immune suppression in cirrhosis patients and also proposes a relatively simple and safe treatment."

Dr O'Brien added: "We have discovered that the immune system of patients with advanced liver disease can be boosted for at least 24 hours by infusing albumin into a vein which reduces PGE2's effects. This safe process is currently given when patients need extra fluid, for example those with kidney damage.

"We propose that albumin be given daily to improve cirrhosis patients' immune systems and therefore prevent infection. We hope that this will save lives and reduce health-care costs and we intend to investigate this in a large scale clinical trial."

The researchers plan to carry out a clinical trial looking at the ability of albumin to reverse immune suppression in liver cirrhosis starting this summer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wellcome Trust. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alastair J O'Brien, James N Fullerton, Karen A Massey, Grace Auld, Gavin Sewell, Sarah James, Justine Newson, Effie Karra, Alison Winstanley, William Alazawi, Rita Garcia-Martinez, Joan Cordoba, Anna Nicolaou, Derek W Gilroy. Immunosuppression in acutely decompensated cirrhosis is mediated by prostaglandin E2. Nature Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nm.3516

Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust. "Mechanism, possible treatment, for immune suppression in liver disease uncovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140413135951.htm>.
Wellcome Trust. (2014, April 13). Mechanism, possible treatment, for immune suppression in liver disease uncovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140413135951.htm
Wellcome Trust. "Mechanism, possible treatment, for immune suppression in liver disease uncovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140413135951.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

AP (Oct. 31, 2014) Officials in the Washington area showed off Ebola response measures being taken at Dulles International Airport and the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins